Zeitgeber (German) = Time Giver. The term zeitgeber is primarily used in Neuroscience to represent an external cue that resets an individual’s internal clock. For most of us, the sun is the most prominent zeitgeber.
Our mission is to use a data-driven and scientific approach to illuminate the problems that ail our society and develop solutions to help us collectively deal with these problems.
Mental illness is one of the biggest issues facing our society. At an individual level, it prevents individuals from living fulfilling and productive lives. At the societal level, mental illness contributes to unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction, poverty, crime, delinquency, mass murders, etc. While the prevalence of mental illness in society is well acknowledged, almost everything else about mental illness remains shrouded in darkness, shame, and secrecy.
Our mission is to use data-driven and scientific approaches to investigate root causes, consequences, and management of mental illness and develop and propose practical solutions that can equip individuals and society to better address mental illness.
As a first step, we are currently auditing publicly available data to study and analyze the mental health care industry
Just like mental illness, sexual violence is also one of the biggest issues facing our society. Moreover, sexual abuse is one of the biggest predictors of mental illness. Furthermore, if there is any subject that is more stigmatizing and taboo to open discussion and inquiry, it is sexual violence.
Our mission is to conduct an unbiased investigation of the prevalence of sexual violence in our society, especially in schools and colleges.
As a first step, we are currently auditing and analyzing the campus safety data that almost every post-secondary institution is federally mandated to report under Title IX provisions.
We were motivated to launch the Zeitgeber Foundation as a result of one of the founders’, Dr. Akshat Vyas’, personal experiences with mental illness and the impact the illness continues to have on him and the other founders. Our story goes back to 2014 when Akshat was a professor of Neuroscience and Psychology. He learned firsthand about sexual assaults in a college he was affiliated with. He tried to understand the prevalence of sexual violence on campus, and what the college was doing to combat it. He faced tremendous resistance, pushback, and retaliation. Around this time, perhaps triggered by the stress, he experienced his first episode of Bipolar Mania. His decision to fight sexual violence, coupled with his mental illness led to dire consequences. Almost in the blink of an eyelid, he went from being a Neuroscientist, a Psychologist, and a professor to being fired, arrested, going broke, and sitting in federal detention, facing deportation. The sudden unraveling of his promising life and career was similarly baffling and distressing for his family and friends. Unwittingly, Akshat and those of us trying to help him had found ourselves at the confluence of two silent epidemics facing our society: Sexual Violence, and Mental illness. The irony is that he is one of the lucky ones. Akshat has the education, background, and people that care very deeply for him. These enabled Akshat to successfully recover from the jolt and manage his condition. In the process, we learned that Akshat’s hopeful story is the exception rather than the rule for most people who suffer similar conditions. We learned that as much as we like to admire the stories of people who manage to “claw back up after getting knocked down”, there are roadblocks at every step that actively prevent people from successfully rehabilitating after facing adversity. We launched the Zeitgeber Foundation to do our part in changing that.
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